Northern California April 02, 2017
Every Year A Major Northern California Highway Closes Down For This Epic Event
For 68 years, Highway 50 from South Lake Tahoe to Placerville has transformed every summer into a historic wagon train route. People come to participate in this historic reenactments of the early pioneers journey out west. They hop in their old fashioned wagon trains (because we all have one of those laying around), saddle up their horses, and recreate the adventure.
And the best part is, you can either join them or watch them along the way. Here are a few photos that will make you want to be a part of this unique event.
The Highway 50 Association is the organizing force behind this event, which is just known locally as "The Wagon Train."
The journey begins in Stateline Nevada, which is right next door to South Lake Tahoe, California. It then crosses over Echo Summit and finishes on Main Street in Placerville. 2017 will be the 68th year of this reenactment.
It will take place this year from June 3 through June 10, 2017. At different stages of the journey, different parts of Highway 50 will be closed to traffic or turned into a one lane highway.
The best place to watch it is at the start, in Tahoe, or the finish in Placerville. Main Street shuts down just as if this were a regular parade, and spectators line the streets and wave at the participants.
The Wagon Train event as we know it today was started in 1950 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Gold Rush. It was so popular that organizers decided to hold this "one time event" every year.
Anyone who has their own equipment and horses can join the wagon train. They have to abide by a few certain rules, however, including that everyone in your party must be in period dress. More rules can be found on their website, below.
As early at the 1840s, people began making their way over what is now known as Highway 50. At the start of the Gold Rush, the slow trickle of settlers out to California became a steady rush.
Gold seekers came by land and by sea to strike it rich, all bound for the Mother Lode, what today is known as Gold Country.
The steep pass over the Sierra Nevada became so congested it was known as the "Roaring Road." Wagon Trains sometimes had to wait for days to get their chance over the pass.
Of course, a lot of improvements to travel between Placerville and Tahoe have been made since then. Today, it takes less than an hour and a half by car.
That doesn't mean we should forget about history, however. The Wagon Train reenactment is a wonderful homage to the generations that came this way before ours.
Participants can join for a day or for the whole trip. They camp out together under the stars and celebrate over the campfire each night. It's a really wonderful experience for everyone from the spectators to the participants.
The Wagon Train travels at just about three miles per hour.
Regardless of how involved you want to be (camping out isn't everyone's cup of tea, after all!), it's an unforgettable experience that every Northern Californian should either participant in or watch at least once.
For more information and how to get involved, you can check out
Have you ever seen the Wagon Train make its way down Highway 50? It’s quite the site to behold. For more Northern California adventure, take a quick peak at
The One Train Ride In Northern California That Will Transport You To The Past.